Apé E-City FX Max (Passenger Version), Image courtesy of Alex Mwanzo

Car & General Launches Piaggio Electric 3-Wheelers in Kenya

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A visit to Kenya’s coastal towns such as Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu, Diani, and of course the city of Mombasa always fascinates people with the large number of tuk-tuks buzzing around everywhere. The noise from their internal combustion engines can be quite overwhelming, but these vehicles play an important role in the economy as passenger vehicle taxis as well as in applications for the last mile logistics services for commercial operations. These 3-wheelers are also used in other parts of the country.

Below is the number of 3-wheelers registered in Kenya from 2018 to 2022. The numbers for 2023 are not out yet.

Number Of 3-Wheelers Registered In Kenya Each Year Since 2018

  • 2018: 6,259
  • 2019: 7,322
  • 2020: 5,896
  • 2021: 6,350
  • 2022: 4,001

(Source: KNBS 2023 Economic Survey)

99% of these are still internal combustion engine vehicles. Accelerating the transition to electric 3-wheelers will go a long way in reducing emissions from these 3-wheelers as well as reducing the noise pollution.

There has been some activity in the Kenyan electric motorcycle sector, driven by a couple of startups. The action in the electric 3-wheeler space, however, has been slower with few startups being active in the space. Things are about to change in a big way as one of the major players in the ICE motorcycle and 3-wheeler sector has just launched some electric 3-wheelers in Kenya.

Car & General Trading Limited, a subsidiary of Car & General Kenya PLC, a company which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, has been the official dealer of Piaggio ICE three-wheelers in Kenya since 2012. It holds franchises for TVS motorcycles (ICE). Gas-powered Piaggio 3-wheelers are now a household name in Kenya.

Building on this strong brand, Car & General recently launched battery-electric versions of Piaggio’s 3-wheelers. The launch of electric 3-wheelers by a big player should give a big boost to the industry, riding on an extensive dealer and support network, as well as an already existing financing ecosystem for 3-wheelers. Car & General Trading Limited wants to supercharge the EV revolution in Kenya through the launch of these two new electric 3-wheelers: Apé E-City FX Max in the passenger segment and Apé E-Xtra FX Max in the cargo segment.

Image courtesy of Car & General

The new vehicles were unveiled by Mr Dhiraj Tripathi, Vice President – Exports & Electric Vehicles – 2W & CV, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd, and Mr Vijay Gidoomal, Group CEO of Car & General along with Mr David Chesoni, Managing Director of Car & General Trading Limited as well as other invited dignitaries. Car & General has been the appointed sole distributor of Piaggio 3-wheelers in Kenya since 2002. Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd (PVPL) is an Indian subsidiary of the Italian Piaggio Group and India’s leading manufacturer of small commercial vehicles as well as pioneers in the 3-wheeler electric mobility. The event was also used to celebrate C&G’s twenty-year partnership with Piaggio. Car & General pioneered the use of 3-wheelers as taxis in East Africa.

The new variants, Apé E-City FX Max and Apé E-Xtra FX Max, have a superior driving range, 12” tire size offering better ground clearance, and excellent grade ability, among other advancements. Available as a fixed battery solution, Apé E-City FX Max and Apé E-Xtra FX Max boast of superior Italian design legacy with a new and attractive bezel and eye-catching graphics.

The new Apé FX Max range comes with advanced battery performance resulting in a longer run, enhanced earnings, and effective cost of ownership. The vehicles also have a reserve range of up to 5 km to combat range anxiety. Bigger tires of 12” give drivers a better ride & handling experience, and control over rough, uneven road conditions, making the journey safer as well as accessible to remote destinations. To provide better visibility and control while driving, the vehicle’s seat height has also been adjusted. Advanced telematics 2.0 gives drivers better navigation and allows fleet owners to track and manage the fleet with utmost efficiency.

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Apé E-City FX Max (Passenger Version) Specs

  • 145 km (± 5 km) driving range in a single charge
  • Top speed of 50 km/h
  • 8kWh lithium ion battery (51.2V)
  • 44kW peak motor @3,500 rpm
  • 29Nm peak torque
  • 3kW charger
  • Charge time, 3 hours 45 min
  • Bigger, 12” tire size
  • Grade ability of 20%
  • Warranty – 1 year
  • Transparent windows on the side
  • Telematics 2.0 (Improved location accuracy, new features on mobile app for drivers & owners)

Apé E-Xtra FX Max (Cargo Version) Specs

Apé E-Xtra FX Max (cargo version), image courtesy of Alex Mwanzo
  • 115 km (± 5 km) driving range in a single charge
  • Top speed of 50 km/h
  • 8kWh lithium ion battery (51.2V)
  • 55 kW peak motor @3,500 rpm
  • 45Nm peak torque
  • 3Kw charger
  • Charge time, 3 hours 45 mins
  • Bigger, 12” tire size
  • Higher ground clearance of 220mm
  • Grade ability of 19%
  • Warranty — 1 year
  • Telematics 2.0 (Improved location accuracy, new features on mobile app for drivers & owners)

Sharing his thoughts, Mr. Diego Graffi, Chairman & MD, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., said, “As pioneers in 3W electric mobility, we are delighted to introduce our hugely successful and highly advanced range of 3W EVs – Apé E-City FX Max and Apé E-Xtra FX Max to Kenya. Our talented team of engineers and R&D has designed the new Apé FX Max range to ensure optimum value for customers through better range, grade ability, and load-carrying capacity, as well as providing a competitive total cost of ownership. We feel the new range is an entrepreneur’s best bet to reap maximum benefits. We thank our partners Car&General for their continued faith and commitment to Piaggio and mutual vision of a cleaner and sustainable future of mobility.”

Speaking at the launch, Mr Vijay Gidoomal,  Group CEO of Car & General (Kenya) Plc, said, “As Piaggio distributor, Car & General is committed to its mantra of making our customers smile in every street, in every town with quality products and after-sales services.  This aligns with Piaggio’s philosophy of providing path-breaking last-mile transport solutions. With low maintenance costs, warranty, advanced technology and long range, the FX Max range will definitely maximize the earnings of our customers, even as we lead Kenya’s three wheeler EV mission.”

The new Apé FX Max range has been designed to ensure maximum earnings for entrepreneurs while enhancing product performance and leading Kenya’s EV revolution. Car & General says with a running cost of less than KSH 10/km (USD 7 cents/km), the new range currently offers the most cost-efficient vehicles in its segment,  combined with an aggressive price point giving a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) overall with almost 40% savings vis-à-vis ICE engines.

Images courtesy of Car & General and Alex Mwanzo

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since.

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has 764 posts and counting. See all posts by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai